Chinese gene-editing method done using a biomedical technique CRISPR-Cas9 is finally tested on humans. This new technique will give a ripple effect on the improvement of cancer-combating techniques done by experts all over the world.
China has been beating its closest superpower rival US, not just in warfare developments
but also in a biomedical combat. The medical team headed by oncologist Lu You of Sichuan University in Chengdu was able to successfully inject gene-edited cells to a person with aggressive lung cancer using CRISPR-Cas9 technique.
Leukemia treatment - immune system T-cells (center) binding to beads which cause the cells to divide
CRISPR-Cas9 comes from (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) associated protein-9 nuclease. It is said that the gene-targeting efficiency of CRISPR-Cas9 is 70% efficient than its similar counterparts which only achieve efficiency range of 1% to 50%.
The process done by Lu and team involved removing the patient's immune cells from the blood and disabled the code of PD-1 gene. PD-1 gene is responsible for blocking a cell's capacity to attack cancer cells . Its normal function is to prevent T cells from attacking health cells but cancers took advantage of that function to proliferate.
Lu's team cultured the cells and increased their numbers. They injected it back to the patient hoping that the modified cells with disabled PD-1 will attack and defeat the cancer cells.
The oncologist team is planning to inject 10 more people with their modified cells. Each person depending on the progression of their cancers will be given multiple injections. All of these are done as a clinical trial. Monitoring will also be done in six months. They need to look out for adverse effects as well as the benefits of the treatments.
See: 50 Smoked Cigarettes Will Cost You One Cell Mutation